Recognition, Empowerment, and Action for Child Mental Health

Self Care and Wellness Youth

Mindfullness Meditation and Organization

Researchers reviewed more than 200 studies of mindfulness among healthy people and found mindfulness-based therapy was especially effective for reducing stress, anxiety and depression. Mindfulness classes and mindfulness-based therapies provide the tools to put concepts of attention and acceptance into practice.

  • Headspace app – Headspace is a meditation app designed to help you live more mindfully. The app offers a wide range of meditations for beginners and experienced users that range from 3 to 20 minutes. In the app, you’ll find stand-alone meditations for when you need a break and longer courses focused on deeper education into mindfulness. Examples of courses include learning the basics of mindfulness, coping with cravings, dealing with distractions, and better sleep.
  • Calm app – Calm is a mindfulness app that provides guided meditations, breathing techniques, and calming exercises. These practices may encourage relaxation, alleviate tension, and relieve stress. In turn, you may be able to fall asleep quickly and sleep deeply. Calm offers a wide selection of story recordings in various categories, including travel, nature, and nonfiction. Some stories feature celebrity narrators. The app also has an extensive music library that includes soothing, ambient, and nature sounds.
  • Happify app – Positive thinking. This app uses games to boost your mood. The activities were developed with positive psychology techniques and CBT interventions.The app lets you choose games to help you in different areas, including: coping with stress, fueling your career success, achieving mindfulness through meditation, conquering negative thoughts, building self-confidence
  • Worry Watch app – Meant to help you track your emotional states over time to identify anxiety triggers and then strengthen your coping strategies through “mood check-ins,” guided journaling, positive affirmations and coping techniques. The coping techniques that are built into the app include breathing exercises, sensory grounding, visualizations and meditations.
  • Insight Timer app – A meditation app that features an extensive free meditation library. The easy-to-navigate app is good for beginners and great for advanced students of meditation. Insight Timer also has live events like yoga, mood tracking, private mentoring, and workshops available.
  • Smiling Mind app – Programming focuses on recognizing and accepting emotions, developing healthy relationships, improving self-esteem, maintaining an open mind, learning to adapt to change and becoming more independent.Mindful activities and tips for caregivers cover a wide range of topics from making meal times more enjoyable to staying present when you’re constantly running from one activity to the next.
  • Healthy Minds Program app – A free app that centers on four key ideas: Awareness, Connection, Insight, and Purpose. Its content is more user-friendly and goal-driven than that of other free apps—and many of the paid apps—we tried. Upon first use, this app prompts you to take a survey that gives you a score for each of the four pillars—a baseline from which you can improve over time. You can choose from two teachers, adjust your course length in five-minute increments, and track your progress as you go along. If you’re looking for a simple, straightforward path to meditation without ads or constant pop-ups prompting you to pay for a subscription, this might be a good choice. Everything we recommend.
  • Buddhify app – A meditation app that features a unique meditation library organized on a brightly colored wheel. Each colored wedge on the wheel represents a specific meditation topic, and you can easily switch to one of the nine available.
  • Habit Bull app for productivity – HabitBull’s app has a simple but powerful UI where you can see your whole month at a glance. With this UI, it’s really easy to see on which day you broke a habit.
  • Mind Shift app – The app provides resources to learn more about and gather tips for addressing general worry, social anxiety, perfectionism, panic and phobias. There’s also an area in the app to record your thoughts in a journal, create custom “flash cards” with mantras you can turn to in anxious moments and test potentially faulty beliefs that you’ve been holding on to. Another area of the app has breathing and meditation exercises, tips for adopting healthier lifestyle habits and challenges you can take on to step out of your comfort zone.
  • I Am Sober app – The I Am Sober app is a useful tool for quitting alcohol. It encourages you to identify triggers, recognize patterns, and develop healthy habits to meet your goals and achieve sobriety. It offers a withdrawal timeline so you can learn what to expect.
  • Quit Start – The app is jam-packed with essential tools for quitting. The home screen of the app prompts you to check in with what’s going on at the moment (whether you’re feeling great, feeling down, having a craving, just slipped up, need a distraction or want to set reminders to ping you at certain times of the day or when you go to specific locations). There are tons of tips and inspirational quotes to discover in the app, and you can save the ones you love to your “quit kit” to revisit later. QuitSTART even has games built in to play when you’re in need of a distraction.
  • Talkspace app – Talkspace not only offers online therapy services, but online psychiatry, too. After completing a brief assessment, you’ll be matched with a licensed psychiatrist and schedule your first session to talk through your personalized treatment, which may include meditation and follow-ups.
  • Sanvello app – Offers a wide range of self-care resources based on the principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). The app’s library of tools includes guided meditation sessions, mood and health tracking features, and audio “Guided Journeys” that can help you build essential life skills and coping strategies.


Popular Grounding Activities/Techniques

Grounding exercises are things you can do to bring yourself into contact with the present moment – the here and now. They can be quick strategies or longer, more formal exercises. helpful for many situations where you find yourself becoming overwhelmed or distracted by distressing memories, thoughts or feelings. They can reduce immediate distress and help promote calmness and self-regulation.

  • With music is to sit with a piece of paper and a pen. Start drawing a line as the music plays, representing it in the abstract on the page. Follow the music with the pen.
  • Use an anchoring phrase. Remind yourself of who you are now. Say your name. Say your age now. Say where you are now. Say what you have done today. Say what you will do next.
  • Play a memory game – Look at a detailed photograph or picture (like a cityscape or other “busy” scene) for 5 to 10 seconds. Then, turn the photograph face-down and recreate the photograph in your mind, in as much detail as possible. Or, you can mentally list all the things you remember from the picture.
  • Visualize your favorite place – Think of your favorite place, whether it’s the home of a loved one or a foreign country. Using each of your senses, imagine the noises you hear, the objects you see, and the scents you can smell. Try to recall the last time you went there. Think about what you did there and how it felt at the time.
  • Practice self-kindness – Repeat kind, compassionate phrases to yourself:
    • “You’re having a rough time, but you’ll make it through.”
    • “You’re strong, and you can move through this pain.”
    • “You’re trying hard, and you’re doing your best.”

    Say it, either aloud or in your head, as many times as you need.

  • Imagine yourself leaving the painful feelings behind. Visualize:
    • Gathering the emotions, balling them up, and putting them into a box
    • Walking, swimming, biking, or jogging away from painful feelings
    • Your thoughts as a song or TV show you dislike, changing the channel or turning down the volume — they’re still there, but you don’t have to listen to them.
  • Working backward from 5, use your senses to list things you notice around you. For example, you might start by listing:
    • Five things you hear
    • Four things you see
    • Three things you can touch from where you’re sitting
    • Two things you can smell
    • One thing you can taste

    Make an effort to notice the little things you might not always pay attention to, such as the color of the flecks in the carpet or the hum of your computer.


Body and Mind

According to the MHFA curriculum, physical self-care, or the healthy living habits one develops and practices, is an important aspect of managing the symptoms of mental health challenges. Also, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), regular physical activity can help keep your mind sharp as you age and can even reduce your risk of depression and anxiety. It increases serotonin levels, leading to improved mood and energy. It can also boost your mood and help you sleep better – two major factors for determining your mental wellbeing.

  • Yin yoga is a slow-paced style of yoga with seated postures that are held for longer periods of time. Yin can also be a meditative yoga practice that helps you find inner peace.
  • Daily walking – Research has shown that walking on a daily basis can help lessen symptoms associated with chronic mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression. Walking is free and you can walk everywhere without any additional equipment. You’ll notice that the more you do it, the more good benefits you’ll notice. Benefits such as increased endorphins, reducing anxiety, and improving body confidence.
  • Sports – Scientists have produced a large body of research on sports and mental health. Sports are associated with lower rates of stress, anxiety, depression, and suicidal behavior. Participation in team sports reduces the risk of teen substance abuse and other reckless behaviors. Team sports enhance resilience, empathy, confidence and empowerment. They have also been shown to increase executive functioning, creativity, cognitive development, and self-regulation. Improved teamwork and social responsibility are additional benefits of team sports for mental health. Teen sports, as well as other outdoor activities, get teens outside so they can experience the benefits of time in nature. Research shows that sports and other types of physical activity can be equally as effective as medication in improving teen mental health and happiness levels—while boosting physical health. Find links to athletic programs on our……page.
  • Restorative yoga focuses on winding down after a long day and relaxing your mind. At its core, this style focuses on body relaxation. Restorative yoga also helps to cleanse and free your mind.
  • Anusara yoga – Anusara is a modern-day version of hatha yoga, most similar to vinyasa in that it focuses on alignment, but with more emphasis on the mind-body-heart connection.
  • A study conducted by Boston University School of Medicine found that Iyengar yoga and controlled breathing practices can improve symptoms of anxiety and depression. The slow, methodical movements common in Iyengar yoga might be more beneficial than other more fast-paced styles.



Body and Mind, Filterable Resources, Mindfullness, Meditation, and Organization, Popular Grounding Activities / Techniques, Self Care and Wellness Youth